10-year-old Quaden Bayles, who was born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, went viral last year when mother Yarraka Bayles posted a heartbreaking video of him sobbing in the back seat of a car due to bullying, and saying he wanted to kill himself.
Although the post triggered many messages of support, the family also received horrendous abuse.
A number of now-deleted social media messages can be summarised by the following tweet, in which one user said “dwarfism can be detected in the 3rd trimester. If the parents aborted him, like they should have done, this wouldn’t have happened”.
Upon being asked whether he was being serious, the Twitter user responded: “It’s crazy that people allow their children to be born with disabilities. Down’s syndrome can be detected too and yet parents still choose to go through with the pregnancy”.
Quaden has since gone on to become an anti-bullying campaigner, and is now finding fame as an Instagram influencer with over half a million followers.
In his latest post, Quaden , whose family is part of the ‘Murri’ community – aboriginal Australians who reside in modern-day Queensland and north-western New South Wales – recommends a sustainable brand designed for kids.
The Australian brand, which specialises in skin care products and fashion accessories, features a monthly “Awesome Kid”, and Quaden has been selected for June 2021.
When asked how he would change the world in one way, the 10-year-old responded:
“I’d put an end to bullying”.
“And so he is, one conversation at a time: Quaden is Allkinds’ Awesome Kid of the Month, since we think his everyday kindness and confidence is really cool (and something all of us can do)”, AllKinds captioned an Instagram post.
In December Quaden was Google’s top “trending kid” in Australia for 2020.
After he walked on to pitch for an exhibition match with Australia’s ‘Indigenous All Stars’ team that same month, search interest for anti-bullying doubled to reach its highest peak in Australia in a year.
Some of Quaden A-lister supporters include Australian professional boxer Billy Dib who offered his support for Quaden in the wake of his viral bullying video, and has given him free boxing lessons. Hugh Jackman, Cardi B and US comedian Brad Williams also helped raise 700,000 Australian dollars to send Quaden and his family to Disneyland.
The family kindly declined and insisted that the money be donated to charity instead.
Quaden’s Instagram profile also displays thousands of comments from those whose lives he has touched.
“Thank you for making a difference in the world. You are really an INSPIRATION! I’m so sorry that you sweethearts have gone through this tragedy”, one American woman wrote in a postcard to the Bayles family.
“Truly blessed and humbled by the outpouring of love and support. Thanks to everyone for all your kind words, really means a lot to us”, the family responded in an Instagram post.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “It is horrific to see that Quaden and his family received such a disgraceful flurry of abuse after releasing a video in which he was clearly suffering the adverse effects of bullying due to his disability. It is wonderful that so many people have come out in support of Quaden, and that he is now thriving as he uses his platform to spread the important message of anti-bullying. In Australia and beyond, we cannot continue to permit discrimination against people because they happen to be have a disability”.